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Chester County Press

The end of an era... Penn Township says ‘goodbye’ to Curtis Mason, Sr.

The end of an era... Penn Township says ‘goodbye’ to Curtis Mason, Sr. [9 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Curtis Mason, inspires many feelings from fierce loyalty to intense dislike, but one thing cannot be denied, the presence of longtime Supervisor and local businessman, Curtis Mason, Sr., has had a dramatic, and positive, impact on the Penn Township of today. 

His 26 years of dedicated and distinguished service to the people of Penn Township will come to an end. During that tenure, he served as Township Supervisor and Board of Supervisors Chairman from January of 1998 to December of 2020.

Mason, an Avon Grove High School graduate, grew up in West Grove Borough and Penn Township. His parents, Charles, and Louise Mason, were the original owners of Mason’s Market which is now the Gulf Station across from the former Jennersville Hospital. Later, Mason and his brother, Richard, took over that business and the rest is history as they, over time, developed or purchased the Crack-n-Crab, Hilltop Bar and Restaurant, Oxford Beverage, and Penn Brew Station. 

Mason’s official tenure in Penn Township began on January 1, 1997, when he was appointed to fill an open seat on the Penn Township Planning Commission. He joined current supervisor Victor Mantegna, who was also on the Penn Planning Commission at that time.  Just two months later, Mason would be appointed to fill an unexpired supervisor term. He earned re-election six times despite numerous challenges. Mason’s influence can be seen most dramatically in the expansion of the 55-and-over communities into a dedicated zone served by public water and sewer and the hospital. The purpose of the attraction of these developments was to support the Avon Grove School District without adding students to it. This move was soon to be copied all over southern Chester County. Today, Penn Township is home to six such developments, including Jenner’s Pond, Luther House, Jennersville Farm/Roseview, Ovations, Big Elk, and Penn Ridge. 

Mason spearheaded the saving of the Red Rose Inn and its transformation into a local museum. Another major accomplishment was the application of his entrepreneurial skills to help the township in building up its coffers, which were quite depleted when he was brought on board. For example, while other townships were experiencing private homeowners erecting cell towers in their yards for personal financial benefit, he led the Board to adopt an ordinance requiring that cell towers could only be on public land for public benefit. This ordinance provides ongoing revenue for the maintenance of Penn’s parks. Another effort was the development of the unique and very environmentally responsible secondary use sewer system which provided highly treated effluent as irrigation for Conard-Pyle’s rose stock thus keeping the business here in Penn. 

Mason originated the Community Picnic with the free chicken barbeque and Elvis in the house providing entertainment. For years, until the COVID-19 pandemic brought it to a halt, the Community Picnic was anxiously awaited. Since the pandemic, the Community Picnic has morphed into the Fall Fest. 

When asked what his most proud accomplishments are, Mason will tell you the development of the township parks, the development of Luther House, and the Technical College High School. Other notable efforts include the Red Rose Intersection improvements and the LEED-certified Dansko building. 

“My theory from the beginning was to run it like a business and not a government. Low overhead and subcontract everything out that you can. No one can compare with us because we have kept things lean while still serving our community optimally. I have been blessed with great boards and staff and we have been able to make all that happen,” said Mason. That practice has served the taxpayers well. 

While Mason states he will miss serving on the Board, he also realizes the time has come to enjoy life while he can. 

As 2023 winds down, all we can say is, “Thank you for the memories, and your legacy of service to Penn Township!”